Workshop for society

Workshops for the community

„Improving protection of victims’ rights: access to legal aid”



On 18th  and 25th February 2014, as a part of the Crime Victims’ Help Week, a community workshop session was held at the Faculty of Law and Administration in Poznan and in the Social Welfare Center in Murowana Goslina. The workshops covered the issues of legal and psychological aid to the victims of crime and were organized by the Chair of Criminal Procedure at the Faculty of Law and Administration at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan.

The workshops constituted one of the stages of the project “Improving protection of victims’ rights: access to legal aid”, co-financed by the European Commission, which primary objective is to increase public awareness of legal rights and procedural safeguards to the victims of crime. University’s partners in the project are: Sabiedriskas Politicas Centrs PROVIDUS from Latvia, the Center for the Study of Democracy of Bulgaria and the Italian Consorzio per la Formazione Interuniversitario.

The workshops were attended by the employees of social welfare centers, psychologists, and school teachers who meet victims of crime on a daily basis and provide them with both psychological and legal assistance being often the only support those people have.

The workshops were conducted by a prosecutor from the Regional Prosecutor’s Office Ms. Magdalena Mazur – Prus (Spokesperson of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Poznan), an advocate Mr. Mariusz Zelek, a psychologist Ms. Agnieszka Lisek and
a mediator Ms. Halina Kutereba.

The first module, which was conducted by the prosecutor, was devoted to the issues concerning the rights of the victims of crime in the course of the criminal proceedings, i.e. at the stage of the proceedings conducted by the prosecutor (police) and in the court. During this part the duties imposed on the victims and the consequences of non-compliance were also highlighted. The prosecutor explained who the victim in criminal proceedings is and what such  person can expect as guaranteed in the course of a trial.

The second speaker Mariusz Zelek, a lawyer, focused on the issues related to the role, tasks and responsibilities of a victims’ proxy, and pointed out where crime victims can seek help. The lawyer explained who can be a proxy in a criminal proceeding. He also emphasized the importance of the psychological aspect of assistance to the victims, and the need to support them. In addition, he explained the procedure of granting legal aid to a crime victim and the circumstances when a victim may apply for such.

The third module was conducted by a psychologist Agnieszka Lisek and was dedicated to non–legal issues related to the help given to the victims of crime. The psychologist explained that the emotional and social issues as well as the methods of communication are extremely important factors in approaching victims of crime. This module addressed different ways of treating victims and assisting them during the procedural phase. The psychologist emphasized that only a victim that is treated with proper respect can cooperate with legal institutions and can get the due compensation in a criminal proceeding. Nevertheless, many times in everyday practice the state authorities forget about the  importance of non-legal aspects of the help given to the victims and focus their priorities on the proper performance of the legal procedures.

The last module was devoted to the issue of mediation in criminal proceedings. The participants had the opportunity to learn what mediation is and what benefits it can bring to the victim. The speaker Halina Kutereba explained why the institution of mediation is so significant both for the victims and for the criminal trial. She also enumerated the most common mistakes made during mediation and the ways to avoid them. During this module the participants were also taught how to encourage parties of the criminal procedure to use this institution more often. Halina Kutereba emphasized that mediation should be used much more frequently than it is now.


In these workshops the participants took part in a discussion and asked questions which were answered at length by the speakers.


Finally, special thanks were addressed to the Dean of the Faculty of Law and Administration in Poznan and the Directorate of the Social Welfare Centre in Murowana Goślina for their kindness and help in the organization of the events.